Completely Random Facts of the Week – Issue 73

February 28, 2017

facts header73In this week’s random fact edition: How Snoopy Got His Name, Mozart’s Younger Years, A Brand New Mineral, An Amazing Landing, and Death at Sea.

snoopy and woodstockHow Snoopy Got His Name

Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip, Peanuts, based Snoopy on a dog he had as a teenager named Spike. Schulz had originally intended to name Snoopy, Sniffy, but the name was already being used in another comic strip. He then remembered that his mother had once said if they got another dog they should name it Snoopy. Spike, by the way, is the name of Snoopy’s brother that lives in the California desert. Source

mozartMozart’s Younger Years

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart learned to play the harpsichord at age three, performed in public for the first time at age five, composed his first piece of music at age six which was a minuet and a trio for keyboard, an Italian opera at age 12, and wrote symphonies as a teen. His older sister, Maria Anna, was also a musical prodigy but was overshadowed by Wolfgang. The pair began traveling Europe as children, demonstrating their talents to audiences.

Their first stop was the Imperial Court in Vienna. From there they began to tour the other royal courts, first in France where they performed for King Louis XV, then on to the English Royal family. It was here that Wolfgang was taught by Johann Christian Bach, the son of the famous composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. They continued to tour Europe for three years and later went on to Italy.

Mozart’s sister, who was nicknamed Nannerl and five years older than Wolfgang, was also extremely gifted. She learned to play the harpsichord at the age of eight, and she even wrote down Wolfgang’s first symphony. When she turned 18 in 1769, her father, Leopold, who had taught both children, ended her touring because she was eligible to be married. She continued to compose her own music and didn’t marry until 1784. There is no record of her music, and it’s not known how much influence she had on her brother and his music. She was considered extremely talented, but we’ll never know what she could have become if she had been allowed to continue. Source, Source, Source

Putnisite new mineral

A Brand New Mineral

A number of new minerals are discovered each year that are related to other minerals, but in 2014 in Australia, a completely new mineral named Putnisite was found. What makes Putnisite different than other new minerals, and the other 4,000 minerals that have been discovered, is that it is unrelated to any already known substances and is completely unique.

Putnisite is a purple-pink mineral that has a unique chemical and crystal structure. Most minerals are able to be classified into a group of minerals or even a synthetic compound, but Putnisite is not related to any other family of minerals.

The new mineral is composed of calcium, carbon, strontium, sulfur, oxygen, and hydrogen. Scientists aren’t sure if Putnisite has any practical uses, however. Source, Source

f 15 crashAn Amazing Landing

In 1983, an Israeli Air Force pilot successfully landed an F-15 with only one wing after a mid-air collision. The pilot, Zivi Nedivi, was flying the F-15 Eagle along with another F-15 in a combat training exercise against four A-4N Skyhawks over the Negev desert in Israel.

The Eagle Nedivi was flying collided with one of the A-4s. There was a large fireball and the pilot of the A-4 ejected from his Skyhawk. Nedivi’s aircraft immediately went into a spin, but he managed to regain control of the aircraft. Nedivi was ordered to eject by his instructor, but he felt he could land the plane safely at an airfield that was 10 miles away even though he knew the airplane had been damaged from the collision.

The thing was, Nedivi had no idea that his entire right wing was missing and that the aircraft had lost a lot of fuel. The Eagle went into another spin, and Nedivi applied the afterburners which allowed the plane to gain speed and be brought back under control once again.

As he got to the airfield, Nedivi lowered the tail hook of the aircraft and landed at twice the normal speed. He was able to stop the aircraft before it met with the arresting barrier at the end of the runway. It was only after he turned to shake his instructor’s hand that he realized the aircraft was missing its right wing.

McDonnell Douglas, the maker of the F-15, was contacted by the Israeli Air Force about the incident and the damage, but the company said that it was impossible for their F-15 to land with only one wing. When they arrived and saw photos of the aircraft flying without a wing they changed their opinion. McDonnell Douglas attributed the feat to the pilot’s skill and the lift the aircraft was capable of from the engines and fuselage. After two months of repairs, the Eagle got a new wing and was certified to fly once again. Source, Source

cruise shipDeath at Sea

A cruise is usually a fun getaway, but sometimes on a long voyage there is a death at sea. Because of this possibility most modern cruise ships have a morgue onboard the ship.

Death at sea is not a common occurrence. Out of approximately 21.7 million people that travel on cruises each year, only about 200 people die. Some of these deaths are from accidents or intoxication, while many occur because of a medical condition.

The cruise ships are prepared for this type of problem, and it begins with an announcement. When “Operation Bright Star” is announced it means there is a medical emergency, and “Operation Rising Star” means there has been a passenger death.

After a person has passed away, the body is placed in a body bag, which the ship is required to carry, and put in the morgue. Most morgues have enough space for one to three bodies with the larger ships having the capacity for six to ten bodies.

The body is usually off-loaded away from the passenger area at the next port of call where a death certificate is issued, and the body is then transported back to the person’s home country. The family of the deceased is responsible for all the costs of transporting the deceased person unless they have travel insurance.

Sometimes the deceased is allowed to stay onboard to return to their home country if the port allows it or if they won’t issue a death certificate. But the ship’s morgue can’t hold a body for more than a week. This becomes a problem if the cruise is one of those that lasts a few weeks to a month. Source, Source

That’s it for another edition of the Random Facts of the Week. Check out more of them here.

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About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium, our ad-free subscription sites (you can find out how to join below). I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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